Miss Bamboo and her vintage Airstream caravan
Once we've got the caravan basics under our belt, some of us just aren't content with sticking to the norm. There's making a tourer your own, and then there's revolutionising its look to give it some entirely personal appeal.
Having set up a vintage clothing company, Miss Bamboo, Emma Edwards and partner Nigel Preston needed something flashy to use as a pop-up boutique for festivals. They also needed a cost effective place to stay after a hard day’s work.
Caravan magazine talked to Emma to find out how they got the best of both worlds, making this Airstream their own…
What got you into the idea of caravanning?
We had never been into caravanning previously but, since setting up Miss Bamboo five years ago, we have been taking our Airstream to many outdoor ’40s, ’50s and rockabilly festivals.
We don’t like modern home style or traditional caravans, and have always loved vintage Airstreams so thought: let’s go for it! We now love the whole caravanning lifestyle and try to get away as often as possible.
How did you come across the caravan?
We were specifically looking for an Airstream that needed renovating, as we had very specific ideas on how we wanted the interior. The Airstream was imported from Texas with us knowing it needed complete renovation.
What’s your favourite bit?
Cocktail corner! I say 'corner' but its actual curved! At the end of the kitchen unit is a curved shelving area with chrome poles in the style of the mid ’50s fitted kitchens from the States. We have lots of original ’50s cocktail and Tiki ephemera; it really brings the Airstream to life and everyone loves a rum cocktail when they come to visit!
How long has it taken you?
It took two years. Due to the specialist nature of the rebuild, we were in a queue for the work to start. The quality of the work has been second to none from Howard Barnett Leisure Vehicle Maintenance.
What started your passion for vintage American/Pacific style?
I have always been into vintage style since I was a teenager in the ’80s, when I was a mod but hung out with a lot of rockabillies. I always loved ’50s and ’60s music, clothing, style and architecture, but when I was a teenager I didn’t realise that what I actually loved was 'mid century modern'.
I got into Tiki style and cocktail culture about 10 years ago and then developed my Miss Bamboo business, which is now a whole lifestyle for us. I like the mix of glamour and style of the ’50s with the kitsch elements of Tiki.
Where was your first trip away?
Our first trip was to the South of Spain, a mere 1800 mile drive, livened up by Nigel’s first reversing experience in the Channel Tunnel train carriage when he blocked the door and had to reverse out with a mere one-inch gap on either side. We are part of the WBCCI Europe and looking forward to their rallies this year.
What feedback/comments have you had when people see it?
Most people love it when they see it and are amazed to see the interior, which is not what they first expect. People often comment on how spacious it is.
Is the project finished? What does the future hold?
The project is finished in terms of the interior but Nigel keeps adding in 'practical' extras like an internal wi-fi system and solar panel to mention a couple. Now he even wants a TV, but it’s not easy finding one that looks retro enough!